Chatham County's first female district attorney was sworn in Wednesday morning.
Meg Heap officially takes charge of the DA's office, a job she fought hard to get. Heap knows its going to be tough, but says she plans to bring back professionalism, integrity and most importantly, restore relationships with law enforcement.
"We have a lot of violent crime going on and if we don't work together," said Heap. "It is going to continue."
Local leaders are optimistic the criminal climate in Chatham County will soon change with Heap at the helm.
"It is very important the DA and law enforcement have a good relationship and I anticipate that to be what to expect in 2013," said Chatham County 4th District Commissioner Patrick Farrell.
"I think the number one thing is transparency and inclusion. I think she will reach out to the various law enforcement departments. I think she is going to solicit and value their opinion. Without that office my job is a moot point, without a good prosecutor. I could no more be pleased," said Garden City Police Chief David Lyons.
Heap's first step in creating that bond is to abolish the escort policy for law enforcement. A policy that made it virtually impossible for officers to quickly meet directly with prosecutors.
"That is where you start," said Heap. "They need to be able to come in and plop down and discuss a case."
While this was a day for celebration, Heap and her constituents know everyone is ready for the violence to stop.
"We are very excited with Meg coming into office," said Pastor George Lee. "As we look at the DA, law enforcement and the community working together in a cohesive bond to bring down the violence, but to ensure our justice system works in an equitable but with a spirit of integrity."
"My plans for the future is to get the office back up and running," said Heap.
Heap plans on hosting an open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday in the Grand Jury room at the courthouse for all law enforcement officers.